CUMBERLAND — The Hagerstown Town and Country Almanack is forecasting a snowy winter season for Allegany and Garrett counties and the Potomac Highlands.
“Our winter forecast calls for winter to get rolling in Western Maryland in mid-November,” said Chad Merrill, who noted that Cumberland’s annual average snowfall is 29.4 inches, compared to Garrett County where the annual snowfall is about five times that amount.
“The winter plug will be turned on in December with two winter storms that will produce widespread accumulating snowfall,” said Merrill, Cumberland native who formerly worked as a meteorologist at television stations in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, and Hagerstown.
Merrill identified the Quasi Biennial Oscillation and the Indian Diople weather pattern as scientific factors used by the almanac in its 2021-22 winter season forecast.
“A strong positive phase of this oscillation often leads to occasional Pacific storms that block cold air pushing into the East. But a negative phase, as is expected this winter, makes it more likely for cold outbreaks to survive into the Eastern U.S.,” he said.
The almanac predicts an occasional cold front that will bring lake-effect snows to the Alleghenies in November along with a couple of winter storms in December that will provide an above-average snowfall amount that month.
“A weak to moderate La Niña is likely to occur this winter. … Historically, moderate La Niña winters produce more snow than average in the mid-Atlantic,” he said.
January is expected to “deliver episodes of snow, particularly early and again in the month, with near average snowfall for the region” he said.
“Unlike last winter when the majority of Western Maryland and the Potomac Highland’s snow occurred in February, February 2022 will be milder with below-average snowfall,” he said.
March is predicted to deliver a snowy end to the winter season, followed by lingering snow in April across the region, according to the almanac predictions.
“We don’t see an opportunity for a record-setting snowy winter,” said Merrill, “simply more snow than the 30-year climate averages.”